Here I am, sat at my desk in my office, feeling rather bewildered and am tuning back into reality and attempting to fathom if it actually feels like a Monday and have needed the confirmation of my calendar to assure me it is actually Monday (a bit like when you lose track of the days at Christmas).

Phew-wee, a lot has happened here since I last wrote, and I am just getting my ‘typing fingers’ back into gear and trying to have clarity of thought through the foggy mindedness. The mind is a bit foggy because I am out of the usual patterns and routine, yet I am currently feeling very driven and motivated as I’ll explain shortly.

What have I been up to then? Let me give you the short version of events…..

Firstly, we spent seven wonderful days with some friends on a campsite on a farm in the heart of the New Forest. We had some days at the seaside (we love beach life), we went to a wildlife centre, spent a day at a huge safari park where monkeys climbed on our car and pulled off our friends’ car number plate! (I probably laughed too much when that happened). We visited the cinema (loved ‘Finding Dory’!), went on boat rides, visited local villages, ate out a lot at country pubs (drinking real ale and local gin), met up with family for BBQs, went on river walks and generally had a great time.  Importantly, I got to be with my wife and children all day every day and catch up with some of my oldest and best friends while totally disconnecting from my usual responsibilities and working role.

When we got back home, the very next morning I had to catch a crazy early train, changing 3 times to catch other trains for nearly 6 hours to get to Shrewsbury. The time was used listening to audiobooks and reading – work related in parts, but not really anything that was required of me for work, just stuff I am interested in and that I feel educates and stimulates me. I hasten to add that all trains were on time. So much could have gone wrong and scuppered my timings, but all went right, and some of my faith in the public transport system here in the UK has been restored as a result. Arriving in Shrewsbury, I picked up our new family Transporter Day Van before having to drive it 4 hours home.

We have a lot of friends with day vans and camper vans. We do not really want or need a camper van, we needed a van that will be able to seat us all and carry the mountains of camping gear and surf boards, bikes and other activity gear that we take with us everywhere. Plus, we want to be able to park up in the evenings, go for a paddle board session before grabbing fish and chips to eat by the side of the van at the water edge. Anyway, here is the latest member of the Eason family (photo taken by the Shrewsbury dealer who we bought it from). I love it.

I managed to avoid most of the heavy traffic and drove home listening to music on the radio, feeling very pleased to be driving our new van. Within 30 minutes of being home, friends arrived and we all filled a taxi with fold-up chairs, tables, food and enough Gin to sink a battleship, and headed out to watch the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra playing Abba tunes in the park. We wore wigs, drank far too much, danced the night away with glow sticks, watched the fabulous fireworks and had much shenanigans.

Then yesterday it was my Birthday. It felt as though my head had only just hit the pillow to get to sleep before my children were in bed with me helping me open my cards and presents in the morning. I am not entirely sure that they actually allowed me to fully open anything for myself and were definitely not permitting me to have a hangover. That was shaken off.

The kids were so excited about us having a new van that we went out for a little drive in it in the morning and then had family over for a late lunch, and yes, more drinks. I even had a caterpillar cake with candles, and am happy to give my age away….

Soooo….. I awoke from a delicious slumber on a giant bean bag, under an apple tree in the sunshine in my garden to find out everyone else had headed home and my wife was bathing the children and getting them ready for bed!

I finished off the leftover Birthday cake and had an early night…. And here I am right now.

We had a lovely time, I could probably do with another couple of early nights to recover fully, yet I feel energised and focused on my work this morning. The age-old expression “a change is as good as a rest” rings very true here. A change of environment, a change from the usual activities, a change in your routine can absolutely be as restorative as a period of relaxation.

I often find that if I do nothing, with no stimulation or physical exertion, I end up feeling more tired. Yet when I am stimulated, having fun in different ways, enjoying laughter with different people, seeing new things, doing things that are different, I get energised and find it to be refreshing.  We were never really very far from home, but are lucky enough to live in a part of the world filled with beauty, nature and lovely people and we like to make the most of what is on our doorstep. Despite this, it felt like we were a million miles away because we let go of home and routine for the time we were there.

My wife and I are now on a plan to eat healthily, and my own running training schedule begins in earnest now for the remainder of the year, and boy do we need it following our recent indulgences. I feel very ready for it though, things will start to resemble regular service around here and there is going to be plenty of new things going on here in coming months too. Up and at ‘em…..

Let's go !